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7 Ways to Curate a Mindful
Work from Home Experience

We have heard the sentiment many times; we are living it daily. We, as a society, are tired and depleted and craving pockets of positivity and support wherever we can find them. Finding these pockets is tremendously important within our work from home environments as many of us are experiencing the necessity for continued remote work. 

Working from home has provided a gamut of positive and negative sentiments based on the attributes of your home workspace. Those working from home with children may find it hard to carve out focus time. Those that live alone may need social interaction to restore. Regardless of the environment, we know that our physical spaces have an impact on us. Curating a mindful work from home experience can alleviate stress, promote psychological and physical wellbeing, and help us navigate our own productivity and efficiency.

External stress can prohibit us from maintaining a sense of mindfulness and can even make us forget that we have an opportunity to be more mindful. There are several ways in which we can better support and improve mindfulness within our work from home experience.

  • Date November 2020
  • Written by Savannah Raus-Wuth, Interior Designer
  • Topic Design, Strategy
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1. Check-in with your body

Mindfulness is synonymous with attunement; both conveying the need to be aware or present of your physical environment and surroundings but also your internal self and state of being. Mindfulness helps us step outside of ourselves. Pressure and stress can cause us to enter a repetitive thought loop that can be hard to escape. Pausing and checking in with yourself can help you step outside of the loop.

Ask yourself:
+ Are you comfortable in the position you are sitting in?
+ Is there a position that would be more comfortable?
+ Have you moved recently?
+ Ergonomically, are you supporting your body for the task at hand?

Anthropometrically, we are all different. However, there are several rules of thumb for ergonomic support in the body while sitting at a desk. It is best to have the legs, feet, arms, and upper back equally supported to lessen strain on our lower back.

Start here:
+ Place your feet flat on the floor
+ Place the thighs and calves perpendicular at a 90-degree angle on a horizontal seat
+ Forearms should be resting at the same angle as the seat pad
+ The base of the wrists should be resting on your work surface
+ The computer screen should be an arm’s length away from your eyes

Even if you may not have moved in hours or happen to realize your leg fell asleep from the position you were sitting in, it does not mean you need to act immediately and change positions or habits. The simple act of pausing and checking in with yourself is the act of mindfulness, and this is where the benefits begin.

We, as a company, have created a unique program focused on providing commercial-grade ergonomically supportive furniture packages that can make mindfulness and attunement with your body during your workday accessible and obtainable. More information can be found on the program here.

2. Create structure for yourself

The natural structure we previously recognized in the office landscape does not exist within our work from home environments. Most of us no longer have a commute to a physical office, and the time that was previously used to prep our mindset for entering the workplace is gone. This elimination of the physical act of transferring spaces and creating a boundary can result in our mindset shifting back to work mode once the working day is done. Creating structure for yourself can help you gain back the time needed to restore and prepare for the mindset of being at work.

For instance:
+ If you no longer have a commute, create a morning ritual that you can use to wake up and shift into a productive work mindset. This could be coffee without screen time, journaling, eating breakfast with your family, or going for a walk prior to hopping online
+ Take breaks! Schedule them into your work day or even add them to your calendar
+ Maintain a schedule. This could resemble your previous work in office schedule, like working from 8-5, or if you thrive with the flexibility of working from home, create a framework and find restoration in knowing you have flexibility to shift and accommodate as needed

3. Out of sight, out of mind

If possible, put all work-related items out of sight when you are done with the workday. If you have an office, close the door. If you do not have this opportunity, try to physically separate yourself from your work area at the end of the day. In an open floorplan one-bedroom apartment, this looks like shutting the laptop and tidying the work area at the end of the day. Try to eliminate any cues of the work occurring. Studies have shown that the visual of work-related items can trigger a shift in mindset back into work mode, even if you are not aware of this occurring.

4. Nature is a necessity

It is undeniable that as humans we desire a connection with nature. Connecting with nature has been proven to lower levels of stress, promote physiological and psychological well-being, increase productivity and mood, and shockingly promote a swifter healing response from the body. This theory is called biophilia.

Biophilia can be interpreted as physically immersing in nature like taking a walk outside. There are alternative options if a true immersive nature experience is not possible. Studies have shown that the resemblance of nature is enough to produce the positive effects of biophilia. This can range from including plants and fresh flowers on your desk or incorporating furniture with natural materials (wood with a raw cut edge for example), or natural colors and shapes and photography and art that depict natural settings. A simple glance at a plant during a video call or a moment of stress can provide a necessary restorative calibrated moment for your mind and body.

5. Shift your location, shift your mindset

Movement and change of environment have been shown to reset our thought patterns and help us access creativity and innovation. A simple idea: change your perspective and environment and change your internal perspective. Have a deadline where you need to exercise innovation? Try moving from your desk to your kitchen table.

If a task arises that may not be a desirable task to conquer, try changing the space you are working in and provide yourself a few amenities like:
+ Lighting a candle
+ Playing your favorite music
+ Making an enjoyable beverage or snack

The added amenities and location change help transition the brain and body into a pleasant mindset that can make the task feel more achievable and desirable.

6. Note when you have the most energy

Having less structure throughout our work from home journey has allotted an interesting opportunity to fully understand what times of day can be most productive for you beyond the 9-5. Each person is different; some are more productive in the morning and some in the evening. If you have the flexibility to test out completing tasks at various times of day, this can help you understand when to make the most out of your workday and how to utilize your productivity to the fullest.

Lighting is a large component with this as well. Take into consideration what type of lighting you have at your workstation. Do you have a task light that illuminates your worksurface? Or an overhead general light? Do you feel more energized or tired when the lights are on?

These questions can help us hack our productivity and workstyles and perpetuate mindfulness in the work from home environment.

7. Reflect your identity onto your workspace

Our homes feel like home because we reflect our identity and sense of self throughout. This allows our homes to be a physical representation of us, fostering a sense of connection and safety. If we can curate our desks and working environment to reflect a similar sense of identity, it can become less of a hinderance in our space. Look around your work from home set-up. Is there a sense of identity?

Consider the following:
+ Do you have plants or nature nearby?
+ Are there photos or artwork you could add?
+ Do you have the tools necessary to complete your job? Are the tools accessible?

Adding in representations of yourself and your identity can make your work from home space feel more comfortable and integral within your home.

At Pophouse, we believe that the right work environment has the ability to positively impact business outcomes, regardless of an individual being in the office or working remote. We work with culture driven organizations and purposefully driven people to embrace spaces that embody strategic, unconventional and human-centric design.  Supporting you and your family through sharing our research is important to us as a company, especially during the tumultuous landscape of our current state. We will continue to share our learnings on how to cultivate the best possible work from home environment in future posts. If you would like to talk to us about designing a space that works for your needs, please contact us at bizdev@pophouse.design

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